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Bishop seeks Aquino's help in land case

President urged to assist evicted tenants who had estate sold from underneath them

Bishop seeks Aquino's help in land case
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma (left) looks on as Bishop Edwin dela Pena of Marawi signs a petition extending the agrarian reform program
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma from the southern Cagayan de Oro archdiocese has urged president Benigno Aquino to intervene in a land dispute that has already resulted in the eviction of some families. “We earnestly request your administration investigate the matter and protect/assist the victims as the investigation and court litigation processes are still in progress,” the prelate said in a letter sent to Aquino. “Your humanitarian act in addressing this problem will not only give them justice but will also contribute something for a lasting peace in Mindanao,” Archbishop Ledesma said. The subject of the dispute is a 111-hectare estate in the village of Lumbia. The property was awarded to the families through an agrarian reform program in 1992. Soon after, some of the families insisted on converting the land for other uses and allegedly sold it to a private individual over everyone’s heads. Agrarian Reform undersecretary Jerry E. Pacturan directed the Center for Land Use Policy, Planning and Implementation to immediately provide information on the status of the application for converting the estate. Archbishop Ledesma said the remaining families have been victims of illegal demolition and illegal detention. “Many families have now been rendered homeless and without basic necessities as employees of very powerful and influential buyers continue to control the victims’ properties, despite court orders for them to stop,” the archbishop said. PM13948.1649
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